Arutz Sheva Daily Israel Report || Wednesday, Jun. 20 ’12, Sivan 30, 5772

 

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Wednesday, Jun. 20 ’12, Sivan 30, 5772

 

       

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HEADLINES:

1. DENNIS ROSS: MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD MUST ‘PLAY BY RULES’

2. SAMARIA’S TURA VINEYARD WINS ‘OSCAR’ OF WINE 3. AL-QAEDA LINKED TERRORIST GRABS HOSTAGES IN TOULOUSE BANK 4. SDOT NEGEV SCHOOL CLOSES CLASSES DUE TO ROCKET FIRE 5. GAZA CONTINUES ROCKET BARRAGE ON SOUTHERN ISRAEL 6. COMPTROLLER REPORT ON CARMEL FIRE SUBMITTED TO KNESSET SPEAKER 7. MUBARAK ON LIFE SUPPORT AS EGYPT WAITS FOR HIS REPLACEMENT 8. ROCKET ATTACK STRIKES BE’ER SHEVA

 

 

1. DENNIS ROSS: MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD MUST ‘PLAY BY RULES’

by Chana Ya’ar

 

 

 

Dennis Ross, former senior adviser to U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, says he believes the Muslim Brotherhood will win Egypt’s presidential election.

 

Ross made the statement Wednesday at the fourth annual Israeli Presidential Conference “Facing Tomorrow 2012,” being held this week in Jerusalem.

 

Ambassador Ross said he believes that Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi will emerge victorious tomorrow in Egypt’s presidential run-off election.

 

Ross specifically mentioned the requirement for Egypt to keep its peace treaty with Israel, and to build a society where women – and for that matter, all citizens – enjoy equal rights.

 

“If the Muslim Brotherhood wants to deliver,” he said, it has to play by the rules.”

 

The conference, jointly organized with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is being held under the auspices of the President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres.

 

“This is the first time in the Middle East that people see themselves as citizens, they see themselves as solid. Mubarak had created a situation in which he was the only option.

 

It is in our interest to emphasize to the Muslim Brotherhood that they need to build the Egyptian state, and realize they need outside help,” he said. But if they want outside help, they will have to abide by international rules – and for example, to keep the peace between Israel and Egypt.

 

“The necessity of external assistance to help rebuild Egypt can influence the behavior of the Muslim Brotherhood, but it will not be easy,” he warned.

 

 

2. SAMARIA’S TURA VINEYARD WINS ‘OSCAR’ OF WINE

by Chana Ya’ar

 

 

 

A Samaria (Shomron) vineyard has won the “Oscar Award of Wine” in Israel’s annual Golden Grapes competition.

 

The Tura vineyard in the settlement of Rachelim won both the gold and the silver medals in the annual Eshkol HaZahav – the Golden Grapes – competition.

 

The prestigious award has been dubbed by international connoisseurs as  “the Oscar of wine.”

 

This year’s competition saw 63 of Israel’s finest vineyards vying for the award, bestowed by a panel of judges after the selection was made in a blind taste test. The tasters included a wide variety of professionals from across the spectrum, including vintners, winemakers, a wine journalist, wine servers and other wine experts.

 

Tura won the gold for its NIS 110 bottle of Merlot, the category which saw the heaviest competition. In the wine blend category, the vineyard won a silver medal for a  blend that carries a price tag of more than NIS 130 per bottle.

 

There are seven wineries in the Samaria (Shomron) region alone, noted Regional Council head Gershon Mesika. He congratulated winners Vered and Oz Ben Sa’adon on their achievement, noting that “the ground returns the love that you built… Medals and prizes for the wines of Shomron are the best answers to the smears and slander against our region. We are pleased to recreate the wine renaissance of Israel in Shomron!”

 

 

3. AL-QAEDA LINKED TERRORIST GRABS HOSTAGES IN TOULOUSE BANK

by Chana Ya’ar

 

 

 

A terrorist claiming to be linked to Al-Qaeda has taken four hostages and demanded to speak to the police who killed Islamist Mohamed Merah.

 

Among the hostages being held is the director of the bank, a branch of CIC. Police have thrown a dragnet around the area of the bank, according to the Quest-France newspaper.

 

The man was reported to have entered the bank, located about 100 meters (330 feet) from Merah’s apartment.

 

Merah is the terrorist who murdered a rabbi and three Jewish children in March at the Otzar HaTorah day school in Toulouse.

 

He also murdered three French Muslim paratroopers of North African descent in the week prior to that.

 

Merah claimed to have been taught by Al-Qaeda in special terror training camps abroad. His brother was later indicted for sending others to similar camps.

 

The bloody rampage was stopped on March 22 by an elite unit of French special ops police who surrounded his apartment in a 30-hour siege. The 23-year-old terrorist, a French citizen of Algerian descent, initially agreed to surrender but then reneged on the deal and instead died in a hail of bullets when he tried to escape by jumping out the window.

 

Merah’s father recently filed a lawsuit against the French police unit that killed his son, charging the officers with murder.

 

 

4. SDOT NEGEV SCHOOL CLOSES CLASSES DUE TO ROCKET FIRE

by Chana Ya’ar

 

 

 

The Ma’agalim elementary school in the Sdot Negev Council district is closing its classes until the incessant rocket attacks are silenced, a parents’ committee said Wednesday. High school and middle school children throughout the country began their summer vacations just as the rocket attacks began to escalate.

 

“The government promised us a safe space,” said Avidan Califa, head of the parents’ committee at the school. “But the shelters that we were promised won’t be available until September.”

 

The bottom line: it’s simply too dangerous to send the children unprotected to school, Califa said. “Until a solution is found, or calm is restored, we are not going to send our children to school,” he declared. “The state has not stopped the rocket fire; it has yet to come to its senses,” Califa added.

 

Residents in nearby Netivot, who were also targeted in the past two days by rocket fire and whose children likewise attend  Ma’agalim, agreed. “Those who live in the south know it’s a problem to send our children to an unfortified school – they are very afraid,” one mother said. “At least we have a reinforced shelter in our home.”

 

More than 200 missiles were fired at Israelis living in the south just a few months ago, in March. For nearly a week, 200,000 school children missed classes and more than one million Israelis were trapped in their homes due to the constant barrage of rocket fire from Gaza, aimed at civilians living anywhere from less than a kilometer to more than 40 kilometers away from Gaza.

 

Thus far, no other community has canceled classes for the remaining days of the elementary school year.

 

 

5. GAZA CONTINUES ROCKET BARRAGE ON SOUTHERN ISRAEL

by Chana Ya’ar

 

Palestinian Authority Arab terrorists continued to fire at southern Israel Wednesday with fresh rocket barrages launched at the Eshkol region.

 

Three short-range Qassam rockets exploded in areas within the Eshkol Regional Council district a few minutes prior to the noon hour, local radio broadcasters reported. The Color Red rocket alert siren apparently failed to activate and warn residents of the incoming missiles. One of the rockets started a fire, but no one was injured in the attack.

 

Gaza terrorists have fired 19 rockets at cities and towns in southern Israel in less than 24 hours — since Tuesday night. Seventeen were fired at the Negev, and two were aimed at the Lachish region.

 

One Border Police officer was seriously wounded in one of the rocket attacks in the Ashkelon coastal district, and three others were lightly wounded. Three women in the Eshkol region suffered shock.

 

An early-morning barrage fired at the Eshkol just minutes before Israel’s final day of classes for some 640,000 public high school students had already sent youths racing for their shelters just before school was about to start.

 

The three rockets landed in open areas around the Eshkol region at about 8:00 a.m. The attack came minutes after medium-range a Grad Katyusha missile was fired at the city of Be’er Sheva.

 

Residents of the Negev’s largest city, home to nearly 200,000 people, were warned by the Color Red rocket alert system about 90 seconds ahead of the impact. They immediately headed for safe spaces as sirens blared throughout the area and around its surrounding suburbs. The missile exploded in an open area on the outskirts of the city. No one was injured and no property damage was reported.

 

 

6. COMPTROLLER REPORT ON CARMEL FIRE SUBMITTED TO KNESSET SPEAKER

by Chana Ya’ar

 

 

 

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss  submitted his report on the Carmel Fire to Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday.

 

The full report is to be published at 4:00 p.m.

 

Jerusalem sources indicate the report is expected to assign responsibility for the massive blame to Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.

 

The two men are allegedly going to be blamed for the country’s lack of preparedness that led to northern firefighters not having the necessary resources at their disposal with which to control the blaze.

 

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman appealed to friendly foreign nations for firefighting assistance. In addition, IDF soldiers mobilized to support the firefighters in their efforts as well.

 

The inferno that raged across the Carmel mountain range in northern Israel ignited on December 2, 2010. At least 17,000 people were evacuated from their homes, and more than 50,000 dunams of forest land (12,000 acres) were destroyed.

 

The blaze left 44 people dead, most of them newly-graduated cadets who worked for Israel’s Prison Service. The cadets were trapped in a bus that was heading to a prison in order to evacuate Arab prisoners who were at risk of being caught in the fire. Instead, the bus carrying the cadets became surrounded by a wall of flames, and they were burned alive.

 

Deemed the deadliest blaze ever to strike the State of Israel, the Carmel fire lasted four days. It was finally extinguished with the aid of firefighters who came to help Israel from all over the world, and included a contingent from the Palestinian Authority as well.

 

 

 

 

7. MUBARAK ON LIFE SUPPORT AS EGYPT WAITS FOR HIS REPLACEMENT

by Chana Ya’ar

 

 

 

Deposed President Hosni Mubarak remains on life support at Maadi military hospital as Egypt’s electoral commission prepares to announce his successor Thursday.

 

Both Mohamed Mursi, the candidate representing the Muslim Brotherhood, outlawed for years by Mubarak’s government, and Ahmed Shafiq, the candidate who was Mubarak’s former prime minister, have each declared victory in the close race.

 

Egypt’s electoral commission is preparing to announce the winner of the nation’s first presidential run-off elections since the end of former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime. But Mubarak is unaware of any of it at this point, as he slowly slips farther away from life.

 

The deposed president, who was toppled from power during the January 25 Tahrir Square Revolution in 2011, suffered a stroke Tuesday in the hospital at Cairo’s Tora Prison. Mubarak’s heart had been restarted several times since his arrival at the prison on June 2, where he suffered high blood pressure and deep depression as well.

 

On Tuesday, his heart failed once more, but was restarted by doctors using a defibrillator. However, the 84-year-old former president suffered a stroke shortly after, and was rushed to the Maadi military hospital where he was immediately placed on life support.

 

The former president was incarcerated after being convicted in connection with the deaths of some 825 protesters during the violent demonstrations that were part of the region wide Arab Spring uprisings that have brought down several other Arab regimes over the past year as well.

 

The official Egyptian Middle East News Agency (MENA) initially quoted a doctor at the military hospital to which he was brought following the stroke that Mubarak was declared “clinically dead” upon his arrival.

 

But a government security official subsequently corrected the report, telling reporters the former president was not dead and had been placed on life support. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to address the media.

 

 

8. ROCKET ATTACK STRIKES BE’ER SHEVA

by Chana Ya’ar

 

 

 

A rocket barrage struck the largest city in Israel’s Negev desert region Wednesday morning just as children reached their schools.

 

A medium-range Grad Katyusha missile landed in an open area just outside of Be’er Sheva, the city sometimes referred to as the “capital of the Israeli south.”

 

There were no immediate reports of physical injuries, although numerous residents who have been traumatized by past rocket attacks had symptoms triggered by the explosion.

 

There were also no immediate reports of property damage, as security personnel fanned out to determine precisely where the missile landed and the results of its impact.

 

Three shorter-range Qassam rockets were launched just a few minutes later, aimed at the western Negev’s Eshkol Regional Council district. One of the rockets exploded within a community itself; the others landed on the outskirts of the towns and in other open areas.

 

As in prior attacks, no one was physically injured and there were no reports of property damage.

 

Southern Israeli residents have been repeatedly drilled by Home Front Command in self-defense procedures and are well aware of how and where to run for cover upon hearing the activation of the Color Red incoming rocket alert siren in their communities. Israel has tried to invest in providing shelters for civilians.

 

The window of time for reaching safety varies depending on the distance of each community from terrorists in Gaza who are launching the missiles.

 

Israel Defense Forces aircraft pounded seven terrorist targets throughout Gaza in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit announced. Direct hits were identified and all aircraft returned safely to base.

 

The air strikes came in response to a barrage of rockets fired at Israel by operatives in the Hamas terrorist-controlled region overnight Tuesday, between midnight and 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. At least 45 missiles were fired at southern Israel in less than four hours, a barrage that had followed 10 other rockets fired earlier in the evening, including a number aimed at the Ashkelon coastal region. Four Israelis were hurt in the attacks, all of them Border Police officers.———————————————–

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